The Transition Should Be Guided by the Five Fundamentals
As we move forward in the phone network transition, we need a basic framework to establish the fundamental values that undergird our communications networks and guide new policy proposals. Working within a values-based framework ensures that our 21st Century rules will benefit everyday Americans, not just the dominant corporations in the telecommunications industry.
Public Knowledge submits that this framework should consist of Five Fundamentals that have successfully steered communications policy for decades, and continue to protect consumers and encourage innovation today. These fundamental values--service to all Americans, competition and interconnection, consumer protection, network reliability, and public safety-- capture the basic principles that made our phone network a resounding success and can do the same for the next generation of communications technology. The reality of tomorrow's network will depend on the expectations we set today and the values we commit to serving through the transition.
Service to All Americans
First and foremost, our national communications policy ensures the benefits of our communications network flow to all Americans - regardless of "race, color, religion, national origin, or sex." n10 We have, as a nation, decided to invest in a world-class communications infrastructure and so we should, as a nation, reap the benefits of that infrastructure. The principle of service to all Americans applies whether users live in rural areas or urban areas. It applies to those with any physical disability that would interfere with communication. It applies to all users regardless of their level of income. Today, our efforts to serve all Americans must include initiatives that go beyond traditional concepts of deployment and take advantage of the opportunities presented by new technologies.
This transition is also an opportunity to look forward: what new opportunities are made possible by new technology, and how does that impact what we determine to be the "basic service" that all should have access to? The Communications Act specifies that universal service encompasses "an evolving level of telecommunications services" and that the
It remains to be seen how the U.S. will continue to pursue the goal of 100% basic service for all Americans as carriers stop maintaining their older, TDM-based facilities. It is clear, however, that universal service and carrier of last resort policies must continue ensuring that all users are able to purchase reliable voice service under nondiscriminatory terms. These policies traditionally applied to all relevant carriers operating in some way on the traditional PSTN. Neither the make-up of the physical plant nor the protocols used to transport data on the network diminish consumers' need for basic service--if anything, advances and new efficiencies in technologies may justify raising the standard for what is considered basic service.
Most Popular Stories
- Free Social Media Marketing Seminar
- 5 Potential Snags to the Bipartisan Budget Deal
- Trader Denies Rate-Rigging in LIBOR Scandal
- Falling Gas Costs Keep U.S. Consumer Prices Flat
- How Do You Store the Wind?
- Mandela, Walker Among Google's Top Searches
- BlackBerry Sheds More Execs
- Mega Millions Jackpot Climbs to $586 Million
- Budget Bill Passes Key Hurdle in Senate
- Phil Pustejovsky's Relief Real Estate Offers Seminars in Daytona Beach